You want a NAS to set up a Plex server, but which is the best option?

Now, if you don’t know much about this system, you will go crazy looking at models and prices, since they can range from less than 100 euros to thousands, and of course, you wonder… what differences are there?which is better for my case? So let’s look at different examples.

Which NAS is best for my use?

Like a computer, a NAS has a thousand different configurations and components. Has a RAM and a processor which may vary depending on the power we need, however, this will depend on the use we are going to give it. Today we are going to focus on a server for Plex, so if you are looking for it to be useful in other aspects you will have to see if what we are going to talk about now works for you or not.

To do this we will have to take into account a fundamental detail, will the server be for us alone or to share with family and friends? It is not the same that we know that the NAS will only work when we feel like it, than that several people in different parts of the world have access to it and can coincide at the same moment, which will make us need more power and network connection, as is logical.

If it is the first case, and this server will be just for you and with exclusive use of Plex, any one with 1 GB of RAM and a dual-core processor will work for you, and more than enough. In my case I have a Synology DS118 and I don’t have any problems.

plex movies

Now, if you are looking to share it with friends, you are going to have to go much further, especially for one issue, the transcoding. What is that? Basically, when the NAS has to transform the video files to the format that the player supports. If a friend is trying to watch a movie that you have uploaded in .avi on his Mac, he will have to transcode it to mp4 or another format compatible with that computer to be able to see it, and this is what takes up the processor and RAM, especially CPU.

And the worst thing is that it is not little, even something of 400 euros might not be useful if more than 2 people are connected, so, at this point, I think that thinking about sharing your server is something that you are ruling out. Although… wait.

There is a way, the one I use, for everyone to connect to your Plex (or even yourself from other homes). And it is very simple. Upload all files in almost universal format (mp4) and disable the transcoding option. In that case, people who access it will see the original content, without any effort from the processor, and only depending on your network connection.

As I said, I have a Synology DS118, which you can get with hard drives for between 150 and 200 euros, even less if it is second-hand and to which more than 10 people connect at the same time without any problem. Of course, remember that if the format is not mp4, many will not be able to see it, but if so, it will work on a mobile phone, Fire TV, computer, Smart TV, and any device.

If, on the other hand, you don’t want this system and are looking to transcode and get people to join in, I have to tell you that I would go for something like the Synology DS223 (for +2 people), from there on up, although be prepared to take out the briefcase.

If you have any questions, leave us a comment and we will be happy to answer.

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